When We Run

Your life can change in a heartbeat.
I walked downstairs and when I came back, everyone was dead and everything was over. But I survived and I ran.

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1. 1.

"Bye, Mom!" I call up the stairs as I get ready to leave for school.

She rushes down the stairs and once again, I marvel at how much she looks like me. She has the same long, brown, messy, wavy hair, the same brown eyes, the same dark, slightly thick eyebrows, the same pale skin and the same slim face. She literally looks like an older version of me.

"You're going already?" she asks, her toothbrush in her hand. "It's seven o'clock."

"It's eight o'clock." I correct her. "Your clock is wrong."

"Oh crap!" she exclaims, looking down at her pyjamas. "Go, go, Holly, you'll miss your train!"

I give her a little salute and a smile and run off to the train station. I'm supposed to be getting the train with my friend Sam at five past eight. I always arrive just as the train does, every single morning so Sam doesn't even worry any more. I spot him as I run into the station and run over to him.

"About time!" he grins and we both get on the train.

"What you gonna do? Beat me up?" I grin back.

This is a little joke we've got going, since we were twelve when we first made friends. Sam is tall, yes, but he's very scrawny and his blonde hair is all messy and he's into comic books. So why not make a joke out of it? He never cares, he makes them himself.

"So." I say as we take our seats. "Maths today."

Sam groans. "With that awful teacher."

I laugh. "He is the most boring teacher of all time." I agree.

Never the less, we get to school and walk the familiar route to our math classroom. High school is a weird thing. We're fifteen and have only been here for a year and a bit, but already, we know we're not the popular ones. Sam and I just stick together and get along with the other unpopular people and ignore the popular ones. Simple.

"Holly, Sam, class started ten minutes ago!" Mrs Jose says when we walk past her classroom on our way to maths. She's a little old lady who is strict but has a sort of charm to her. She taught us History in our first year here and has a fondness for her. "Now I need one of you to volunteer and be part of my demonstration for my class! They're from the middle school, visiting and I want this to be a great lesson for them."

I go to look at Sam but he is already running down the corridor. Mrs Jose is a very old fashioned teacher. You don't know what sort of demonstration she's going to use in her lessons.

"I need to go to math class, Miss." I say.

"No, no, I'll take care of that! You just come in here and take part in my demonstration." she smiles.

I walk in and there are people a lot younger than me all staring at me. I groan in my mind.

"Now, do you remember your first lesson with me?" Mrs Jose asks. I nod. I remember it all too well. "Explain what happened to the lovely young people, then."

I sigh and turn to the class. "This school and this very classroom was built over a hideout. It was built by a soldier so he could hide and keep safe from any bomb." I say, bored. "It's like a little room, really, really far underground. Like, it would take you about five minutes to completely get to the room. Anyway, in the first lesson I had with her, she made us all go down into the hideout to see it."

I turn to Miss Jose and she has a smile on her face then she turns to the class. "Now, I am going to get Holly here to go down into the hideout and we are going to jump on the floor and she has to press this button every time she hears us jump, just to get a feeling of how much this would protect someone from a bomb."

I sigh. I couldn't really care less about going into the hideout. We went down there a million times when Mrs Jose taught us. She passes me the button thing which is apparently hooked up to her computer and will tell her when I press it and I open the little trap door, going down into the hideout.

It takes me five minutes to go down. When I'm at the bottom, I press the button to let them know I'm down and just sit down, waiting to hear them jumping. Knowing Mrs Jose, eventually they will all be slamming tables down on the floor and I still won't be able to hear it. This place is really far underground.

I used to be terrified of coming down here. Sam used to try and scare me by telling me we would get stuck, but we never did. I start to get bored so I try to imagine that soldier down here. There was a war going on and he sat exactly where I am sat now, waiting. Was he scared? Was he guilty? I can't describe it, but it's such a weird thought to say that he sat here.

After about five minutes, I still haven't heard anything so I get up, ready to go back to the classroom. About to go up the stairs, I suddenly hear and feel a bang. It shakes the little room around and I pause, steadying myself. I frown. What game has Mrs Joyce played so that I can actually feel something. I press the button, uneasily but nobody comes down to get me out.

When we used to play this game in the first year, we were told to press the button three times if there was a problem or if we were panicking. I press the button three times and wait for the light to flash three times; that would mean they got my message and everything is okay. Nothing happens.

I try again and again, but still nothing happens. My heart starts beating and my knees go weak as I start to walk up the stairs. What has happened? I know that this will all be some stupid joke to get back at me for being late to school, but I'm still scared. I don't know what of, I don't know what could have happened, but I'm scared.

At last I get to the top of the stairs and fling open the trap door, but it won't open. I keep trying, my face going red with effort but my arms are starting to become weak with terror.

I manage it and see the problem.

A body was stopping the door from opening. A dead body.

And it's not the only one there.

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